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Emma Neilson, 13, has participated in the video camp a number of times before and helped assist the other participants with their films – writing, acting, recording and editing for anyone who needed it.
Emma Neilson, 13, has participated in the video camp a number of times before and helped assist the other participants last week with their films – writing, acting, recording and editing for anyone who needed it. - Katie Tower

March break video camp helps youth unleash their inner filmmaker

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

Budding filmmakers or aspiring actors – no matter which side of the camera they were on, about a dozen Sackville youth had the opportunity to learn more about creating their own films during a week-long video camp over March break.

Emma Neilson, 13, has attended the camp several times before and served as somewhat of a mentor for the younger participants throughout the week, helping them through the process – from writing their own scripts and storyboards, to shooting and editing their own videos, and recording and mixing their own sound.

Neilson said she’s a film enthusiast and hopes to someday pursue a career in the industry, so having the opportunity to take part in this hands-on video camp was a perfect way for her to spend March break.

“I just really enjoy films and documentaries and I’ve always liked going to the cinema,” says Neilson.

Neilson, who also has a passion for documentaries as well as big theatre productions, says she likes the creative freedom the camp provides, allowing them to take their own ideas and work from there.

Nine-year-old Henry Buckler loved having the opportunity to combine filmmaking with his love of skateboarding during last week’s video camp.
Nine-year-old Henry Buckler loved having the opportunity to combine filmmaking with his love of skateboarding during last week’s video camp.

Nine-year-old Henry Buckler appreciated having Neilson’s experience to draw from throughout the week. She recorded Buckler’s snowskate videos and showed him the ins and outs of editing. (A snowskate is a skateboard with a lower ski deck which comes in contact with the snow, he explains.)

“I really like making films, it was really fun,” he says. “You get to do whatever you want and so last time I did it I did skateboarding videos and this time I did it I decided to do snowskating.”

The video camp, hosted by Struts Gallery, offers young participants ages 9-14 the chance to learn from a professional video artist Todd Fraser, production manager at Struts, and use professional equipment. There are two camps typically held each year – one during March break and one held in the summer.

Axel Kelly Spurles and Sophi Boomer-Searle, both 10, are also returnees to the camp and say they enjoy all the different aspects involved in creating videos.

“You get to learn new experiences … like the editing. I’ve never done editing before,” says Boomer-Searle.

They both dabble in still photography, so they figured that would transfer over to video as well.

Kelly Spurles says he enjoys watching movies, particularly old films, so he thought the camp would be a good opportunity to make his own. Entitled The Cereal Party, Kelly Spurles’ film revolves around a party and a duck who tries to cut in on the fun.

Although he was happy with how his short film turned out, he says he learned a lot throughout the process, including this important lesson: “No matter how detailed your plan is, it’s probably not going to go according to plan. It will not turn out the way you thought it would at first.”

Sophi Boomer-Searle, left, and Axel Kelly Spurles participated in the March Break video camp, learning about the ins and outs of the filmmaking process. Sophi served as an actor in Axel’s film The Cereal Party, which also featured a duck as one of the main characters.
Sophi Boomer-Searle, left, and Axel Kelly Spurles participated in the March Break video camp, learning about the ins and outs of the filmmaking process. Sophi served as an actor in Axel’s film The Cereal Party, which also featured a duck as one of the main characters.

Instructor Rena Thomas says it was wonderful to see so much creativity throughout the week, even from the returning participants who continue to be inspired by their passions.

“They’re all super into it,” she says.

Thomas says in this day and age of online video apps such as YouTube and Vimeo, it’s great to show youth there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes in making these clips.

“Rather than just staring at a screen, I think understanding the technical side is really enriching for them.”

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